By David C. Olson
Election Day 2012 looms especially important for the livelihood of all Minnesotans. With Nov. 6 just weeks away, it’s vital that employers take the time to educate and engage employees on the importance of electing pro-business legislators. Your “to do” list can be relatively easy to manage, and the rewards can be long lasting. Your success in building your business depends in large part on the public policies passed each year by the Governor and Legislature.
Electing pro-business legislators is essential to improving your company’s bottom line to enhance the lives of all Minnesotans. All 201 legislative seats – 67 senators and 134 representatives – are up for election. Most noteworthy, we are guaranteed 55 new faces due to a combination of legislative redistricting and retirements. The businesses represented by our statewide network of local chambers need look no further than the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Jobs Scorecard to recognize the value of electing lawmakers who understand what it takes to operate private-sector businesses in this challenging global economy.
Pro-business lawmakers are equally integral to passing pro-jobs bills and blocking anti-jobs bills. We understand your time is consumed by the daily challenges of running your businesses. The Minnesota Chamber and its local chamber partners are ready to help educate and engage your employees. Know the issues: Our Jobs Scorecard identifies the priority pro-jobs bills that we advocated as well as the anti-jobs bills that we defeated at the 2012 Legislature. Expect many of the same issues to be center stage in 2013. Know your candidates: Many new faces are on the ballot due to redistricting and retirements.
Check out our Action Center to see who is asking to represent you. Know where your candidates stand on your concerns: Our Voting Record shows how incumbents voted on business priorities at the 2012 Legislature. The Minnesota Chamber Leadership Fund PAC identifies and supports pro-jobs candidates, including providing their answers to an election questionnaire. Show your support: Be public in your support of candidates. For example, engage in online discussions, write a letter to the editor to your community newspaper, participate in radio call-in programs, show up for candidate forums, write candidates a check or help with the inner workings of their campaigns.
Find your polling place: You’re armed with the information. Now be certain you know where to cast your ballot. Business leaders understand the impact of policy-makers on their bottom lines, and they are looking for improved results. Eighty percent of the respondents in this year’s Minnesota Business Barometer Survey said the Governor and Legislature play a role – 45 percent said a very important role – in shaping the state’s business climate. Advancing the statewide business community’s legislative agenda begins Nov. 6. Our state needs bold, innovative and practical political leaders if we are to strengthen our state’s economy. Too much is at stake to sit this one out.
David Olson is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the Web at www.mnchamber.com.